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Texts :: Biography

Gangster Actor Who Knew His Renoir From His Kostabi

Edward G. Robinson was born Emmanuel Goldenberg on the 12th December 1893 in Bucharest, Romania. He arrived in the United States, in New York's Lower East Side, at age 10. He took up acting while attending City College, abandoning plans to become a rabbi or lawyer.

He was elected to the Elizabethan Society. He attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts on a scholarship, and, in 1913, began appearing in summer stock after changing his name to "Edward G." (for Goldenberg). Robinson debuted on Broadway in 1915, and, over the next 15 years, became a noted stage character actor, even co-writing one of his plays, The Kibitzer (1929). He appeared in one silent film, The Bright Shawl (1923), but not until the sound era did he begin working regularly in films, making his talkie debut in The Hole in the Wall (1929) with Claudette Colbert.

It was a later sound film, 1930's Little Caesar, that brought him to the attention of American audiences; portraying gangster boss Rico Bandello, he established a prototype for a number of gangster roles he played in the ensuing years. After being typecast as a gangster he gradually expanded the scope of his roles, and, in the '40s, gave memorable "good guy" performances as in a number of psychological dramas; he played federal agents, scientists, Biblical characters, business men, bank clerks, among other characters.

The actor experienced a number of personal problems during the '50s. He was falsely linked to communist organizations and called before the House Un-American Activities Committee (eventually being cleared of all suspicion). Having owned one of the world's largest private art collections, he was forced to sell it in 1956 as part of a divorce settlement with his wife of 29 years, actress Gladys Lloyd. Robinson continued his career, however, which now included television work, and he remained a busy actor until shortly before his death from cancer in 1973. His final film was Soylent Green (1973), a science fiction shocker with Charlton Heston.

Two months after his death, Robinson was awarded an honorary Oscar "for his outstanding contribution to motion pictures," having been notified of the honor before he died. Incredibly, he had never even nominated for an Academy Award before then!

He was also the author of a posthumously published autobiography, All My Yesterdays (1973).

Edward G. Robinson, USA Stamp

He was a stocky, forceful, zesty star of Hollywood films who was best known for his gangsters roles in the '30s. A "little giant" of the screen with a pug-dog face, drawling nasal voice, and a snarling expression, he was considered the quintessential tough-guy actor.

Interred at Beth El Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York, USA, in the Goodman Mausoleum.

Edward G. Robinson Dvds available @ amazon.com

Gallery :: Film Posters

You won't be surprised to know but the company with the most varied of Edward G. Robinson repro. film posters is amazon. There are a vast array of his posters there - far, far more than here.

They come in various sizes and usually work out to be less than $10 per poster which I don't think is too bad. You get an unusual and beautiful item to hang on your walls and I bet your friends won't have it.

Here, occasionally, you will find an original poster from the time of the release of the movie. They are obviously far more expensive but if you have the money they are worth it as they are works of art in their own right.

Edward G. Robinson Film Posters available @ amazon.com.

Edward G. Robinson Film Posters available @ amazon.com.


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Edward G. Robinson Biog. here. The Stranger Review here.

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